Dead sharks. Photo: Tim WattersDead sharks. Photo: Tim WattersLast week local and national Ecuadorian news was saturated with information about the suspension of the Galapagos judge in charge of the case known as the Fer Mary. This industrial fishing vessel was caught last July inside the Galapagos Marine Reserve with more than 350 dead sharks. The case made headlines throughout the year, not only for the illegal capture of protected species in a marine reserve, but also for the poor judicial response it received from local judiciary, which ultimately annulled all its proceedings.

National news reports the suspension as being decided by national judicial authorities over the judge´s decisions related to the Fer Mary case. This is an important development for environmental law enforcement, as it reflects that national authorities are increasingly concerned about how the Galapagos judicial system responds on environmental cases, particularly in terms of access to justice and due process.

According to Ecuadorian law, the suspension of a judge applies on situations considered as serious and urgent. A suspension lasts for a period of 90 days in which judges have to step out of office while internal disciplinary investigations take place. The Galapagos judge who is now under such investigation is the same one who on December 23th decided to annul all judicial proceedings of the Fer Mary case.  Read Story Here.

According to Ecuadorian legislation, sharks are protected species. Their capture inside the Galapagos Marine Reserve is considered an environmental crime by the Galapagos Law and the Penal Code of Ecuador.

Sea Shepherd has been closely monitoring this case. In August 2011, Sea Shepherd promoted an initiative to go to court on behalf of the sharks. In a joint effort of different organizations, a legal brief (Amicus Curiae) was filed in September 2011 in defense of the sharks captured inside the Galapagos Marine Reserve. The Amicus Curiae will stand as testimony of defense of the magnificent sharks- top predators of the oceans.

Hammerhead Sharks in the Galapagos Marine Reserve. Photo: Nicolas VeraHammerhead Sharks in the Galapagos Marine Reserve. Photo: Nicolás VeraLa semana pasada, medios de prensa local y nacional informaron ampliamente sobre la suspensión del juez de Galápagos que tramitó el caso conocido como Fer Mary, una embarcación de pesca industrial interceptada dentro de la Reserva Marina de Galápagos por la Dirección del Parque Nacional Galápagos -el pasado mes de Julio- con más de 350 tiburones muertos. El caso hizo noticia el año pasado, no sólo por la captura ilegal de especies protegidas en una reserva marina, sino también por la pobre respuesta judicial que recibió de parte de la justicia local.

De acuerdo con los medios de prensa, la suspensión del juez se relaciona a las resoluciones adoptadas en el caso Fer Mary. Este es un avance importante para la aplicación de la legislación ambiental, ya que refleja la creciente preocupación de las autoridades judiciales nacionales acerca de cómo el sistema judicial Galápagos responde a causas ambientales, en particular en términos de acceso a la justicia y debido proceso.

Según la ley ecuatoriana, la suspensión de un juez se aplica en situaciones consideradas como graves y urgentes. La suspensión dura 90 días, tiempo en que los jueces dejan sus despachos mientras se tramitan sumarios disciplinarios en su contra. El juez de Galápagos que está bajo investigación de la autoridad judicial nacional es quien, el pasado 23 de diciembre anuló todo lo actuado en el caso de Fer Mary.  Read Story Here.

De conformidad con la legislación ecuatoriana, los tiburones son especies protegidas. Su captura dentro de la Reserva Marina de Galápagos constituye delito ambiental tipificado y sancionado por la Ley de Galápagos y el Código Penal de Ecuador.

Desde la fecha de detección de la embarcación Fer Mary, Sea Shepherd ha estado monitoreando este caso. En Agosto del 2011, Sea Shepherd promovió una iniciativa para representar a los tiburones en la corte de justicia local. En un esfuerzo conjunto de varias organizaciones un informe jurídico (Amicus Curiae) fue presentado en Septiembre del 2011 en defensa de los tiburones capturados dentro de la Reserva Marina de Galápagos. El Amicus Curiae prevalecerá como testimonio de la defensa de los tiburones, especie magnífica de los océanos.

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